Empirical Studies of Human Rights Law

Kevin L. Cope, Cosette D. Creamer, Mila Versteeg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A growing body of empirical studies has provided important insights into our understanding of the causes and effects of codified human rights. Yet empirical research has treated human rights treaties and constitutional rights as separate domains, even though the two regimes offer many of the same rights protections and can interact and reinforce each other. In this article, we review these two bodies of literature, focusing on two lines of inquiry: studies that (a) treat rights commitments as the outcome to be explained and (b) examine the consequences of these commitments for state behavior. Some broad insights emerge from these literatures. First, the literatures adopt different orientations to explaining why states commit themselves to legal rights. Second, the effect of both human rights treaties and constitutions is usually small and contingent on certain legal and political environments. This review concludes by synthesizing debates over the most effective methods for measuring rights performance and for gauging causal effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-182
Number of pages28
JournalAnnual Review of Law and Social Science
Volume15
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 13 2019

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human rights
treaty
Law
commitment
empirical research
constitution
regime
cause
performance
literature

Keywords

  • constitutions
  • empirical methods
  • human rights
  • international law
  • treaties

Cite this

Empirical Studies of Human Rights Law. / Cope, Kevin L.; Creamer, Cosette D.; Versteeg, Mila.

In: Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Vol. 15, 13.10.2019, p. 155-182.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Cope, Kevin L. ; Creamer, Cosette D. ; Versteeg, Mila. / Empirical Studies of Human Rights Law. In: Annual Review of Law and Social Science. 2019 ; Vol. 15. pp. 155-182.
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